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Face Coverings in Public Spaces

Current legislation and Government guidance is England is members of the public must wear a face covering by law in the following settings:

  • public transport

  • indoor transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, bus and coach stations)

  • shops and supermarkets

  • indoor shopping centres

  • banks, building societies, and post offices

In addition from 8 August this will be expanded to include a wider range of indoor settings including:

funeral directors, premises providing professional, legal or financial services, cinemas, theatres, bingo halls, museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites, beauty, hair salons and barbers - other than where necessary to remove for treatments, public areas in hotels and hostels, place of worship, libraries, community centres.

NB: Face coverings are not required in restaurants with table service, bars, and pubs.

Enforcement Measures

Shops, supermarkets and other premises where face coverings are required are encouraged to take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law and could refuse entry to anyone who does not have a valid exemption.

Transport operators can deny access to their public transport services if a passenger is not wearing a face covering, or direct them to wear one or leave a service if they are not wearing a face covering.

However there is no legal requirement or legal responsibility for shops and other premises to ensure customers wear face coverings. And there is no enforcement action that the Local Authority or the Police can take against shops or other premises in relation to customers not wearing face coverings.

If necessary, the Police can use enforcement powers against members of the public who refuse to wear face coverings when in shops and other premises. Sanctions include issuing fines of £100 (halving to £50 if paid within 14 days).

Support and Education

In response to concerns that some shops, in particular smaller operators, may be not taking all reasonable steps to ensure customers wear face coverings it may be appropriate for the Council to look at ways of promoting the wearing of face coverings in shops.

In the first instance this may include the offer of targeted guidance in appropriate languages to shops keepers along with signs to display advising customers it is a legal requirement and a health protection measure to wear a face covering.

Recent and similar offers providing advice and signage on social distancing were well received by local shop keepers. If appropriate this offer could be rolled out quickly to local shop keepers across Leeds.

The latest government guidance on face coverings can be found here;

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